Serving God's People in Africa since 1868

Help the Sisters in Goma to Provide Support to Orphaned Children

“Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to reach out to orphans and widows in their distress . . . .” James l:27 The quote from the letter of St. James, one of the relatives of our Lord Jesus, was written nearly 2,000 years ago. But what I find most interesting about the passage is its reference to caring for “orphans and widows” — and how there is so much to be received by caring for this particular group of people. Perhaps what amazes me most is that today — even though two millennia have passed since the passage was written — in many societies, widows and orphans continue to be the most vulnerable and those most in need.


Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to reach out to orphans and widows in their distress . . . .

James 1:27

Dear Mr. Doe,

The above quote from the letter of St. James, one of the relatives of our Lord Jesus, was written nearly 2,000 years ago. But what I find most interesting about the passage is its reference to caring for “orphans and widows” — and how there is so much to be received by caring for this particular group of people. Perhaps what amazes me most is that today — even though two millennia have passed since the passage was written — in many societies, widows and orphans continue to be the most vulnerable and those most in need.

As unjust as it may seem, in cultures that are dominated by men — such as in many parts of Africa — a woman whose husband dies not only loses her spouse, but she also loses the person who would support her financially and protect her from harm as well as grow food. It is often the same case for children. When a boy or girl becomes an orphan, he or she is now totally alone. There are no government programs such as Medicaid or Social Security to help those who have lost the person who provided for them.

They are on their own.

Recently, I received a letter from Sr. Isabelle Matabaro — a missionary who works in the city of Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. There, she and other missionary Sisters work to assist women and children who have become widows and orphans as a result of the ongoing wars in their country. In essence, Sr. Isabelle is helping those who St. James wrote about 2,000 years ago — those who are most vulnerable . . . those who desperately need help.

“We educate and train women and children who are victims of the wars in the eastern section of this country,” Sr. Isabelle writes. “They have become widows and orphans, We teach them how to read and write — to become literate. We teach them skills such as dressmaking, tailoring, cooking and gardening . . . things which will enable them to be independent and to live on their own. Additionally, some of our Sisters are counseling the victims of war . . . those whose loved ones have been killed in the war. There is so much to be done.”

“In addition to needing education materials for those who come to us, there is also a continuing need for repairing and maintaining the buildings here in the compound. Some buildings need electricity while others need painting. There are doors that need to be replaced, windows needing to be repaired.”

“All of those who come to us pitch in to help — everyone uses their skills in one way or another. Those who have advanced skills are teaching those who are less skilled. They all want to help one another.”

“I am hoping that you can help us continue reaching out to those who are in such desperate need.”

My friend, can you imagine the fear and desperation the women and children in Central Africa (where Sr. Isabelle and the other missionaries are working) must feel when they suddenly lose the person who was protecting them and providing for them? For those who do not have the skills to be hired to work at a job — or cannot even read and write — the future is terrifying! That is why I am writing this letter to you. I am praying that together we can help them.

I am hoping that we can raise at least $35,000 to help Sr. Isabelle and the Sisters working in Goma as well as provide support for other projects that provide care and support for orphaned children and their families throughout central and eastern Africa. As wars and conflict continue to claim the lives of so many throughout the region, the number of innocent victims — especially women and children — continues to grow. They need our help. Is there some way you can help us?”

For all that you have done and continue to do, please accept my most heartfelt thanks. You and your loved ones remain in the prayers of all of the Missionaries of Africa serving around the world.